Is your dog getting stinky and hasn’t been able to visit a grooming salon during the past couple of months? If yes, then your dog is ready for an at-home spa day! Grooming your dog at home is a key part of keeping your dog not only healthy but also happy. It’s important to maintain your dog's skin and coat as much as possible, and you can do it from your own home! Not all dogs enjoy grooming, so keep in mind to be patient and always keep the grooming experience positive. Below are some grooming tips to help you with the process of grooming your dog at home until you are able to see your favorite groomer.
1. Put down a non-slip mat in your bath tub
Not all dogs enjoy baths. Some love it and some hate it. Your dog may be anxious and squirmy while you try to bathe them, so make sure they have a mat to stand on to prevent slipping, injuring themselves, and to make it easier for the dog to stay in one place. If you do not have a non-slip mat, you can place a towel at the bottom of your tub.
Tip: To make your bathing process easier and with less back aches, purchase a Furesh folding dog bath tub.
2. Use a quality shampoo
Make sure you have all your products ready at hands reach. This will speed up the bathing process and make the process smoother for you and your dog. Did you know the quality of your shampoo matters? Not all dog shampoos are created equal. Many of them have artificial colorants, parabens and sulfates, which are all bad for your dog's fur and skin. Pick a shampoo that fits your dog's needs and is as natural as possible.
Trick: Dilute your dog shampoo with a 10-to-1 ratio of water to shampoo. This helps spread the shampoo much easier onto your dog’s coat. The less shampoo and water when rinsing will be used. A little bit goes a long way.
3. Place cotton balls into your dog's ears
Getting water into your dog's ears can be common because they move and shake their head around as you bathe them. This can lead to an infection down the road. To minimize water in your dog's ears, place a cotton ball in each of their ears softly but firmly to ensure that the cotton balls won’t fall out.
Safety tip: Avoid getting water into these areas: the ears, nose, and ears. These are all very sensitive areas.
4. Scrub and rinse well
Lather your dog up and cover all areas of your dog from head, tail, and even in between the paws (you may be surprised by what lies in your dog’s paws!). Be sure to rinse all the shampoo out of your dog’s coat. If shampoo residue is left in your dog's coat, it can irritate their skin. You can easily avoid this by rinsing the dog again until you feel their coat is squeaky clean and you see no more bubbles.
Safety tip: Avoid shampoo around the eyes. Typically, we like to wash and scrub our dog from back to front. We leave the head last to wash because this is the area where dog's do not like to get wet. When rinsing the head area, tilt the head in a downward position so the water falls forward.
5. Use treats as a distraction & reward
Make bath time fun and rewarding by using positive reinforcement. Sometimes dogs will not be interested in treats when getting a bath, but if they are, it is great to associate grooming your dog at home with treats to create a positive experience.
Trick: You can use a LickiMat on the wall of the bath tub and put peanut butter on it to distract your dog while you bathe them. They get snacks, you get a clean dog! it's a win-win!
Tip: One of the best treats you can use in a situation like this, is an actual treat that is good for your pet's skin and coat to prevent itching, flaking, and shedding, such as Wellnergy Pets skin and coat supplements below!
Tip: If your dog is on the bigger side and is harder to handle during a bath, be sure to have another person to help hold as the other person washes.
6. Dry your dog as quickly and thoroughly as possible
All dogs should be towel dried soon right after their bath. We highly recommend a microfiber towel than a traditional towel because microfiber towels absorb more water. A traditional towel becomes saturated very quickly and depending on the dog size, you may need to use more than 1 towel. Blow drying comes next, so make sure to dry your dog as much as possible with towels prior, so the blow drying process doesn't take as long. After drying, make sure to brush the coat once more for a nice finishing touch.
Safety tip: For dogs who are sensitive to loud noises, you can place a happy hoodie or wrap a towel over their ears to reduce the noise. When blow drying, use the low temperature setting since dogs have more sensitive skin than humans. Keep the blow drying process moving throughout the body. Do not blow dry in one spot for too long because this will cause a burn.
7. Ears, ears, ears - Don't forget the ears!
Keeping your dog's ears clean is an important part of their overall health. Dogs with ears that stand up are less likely to have an ear infection than a dog who has floppy ears. Floppy ears with a lot of hair are more prone to an ear infection due to poor air ventilation and moisture built up overtime. Use a cotton ball to gently clean inside the ear with a ear cleaning solution for dogs or wipes. This will help remove debris and help eliminate any water that got into their ears during the bath.
Safety tip: Never use a Q-Tip to clean your pet's ears. The Q-tip can push dirt and debris deeper into your dog’s ears which may cause infection and even lead to damage to the inner structure of the ear itself. Only clean the outside of the ear and clean only what you can see.
8. Nail trim - Your dog’s worst nightmare.
Be careful with your dog’s nails. We recommend against cutting your dog's own nails yourself unless you have been trained by a professional because it is easy to hurt your dog in the process. A safer option is to file your dog's nail with a course nail file or a dremel. However, if your dog refuses any type of paw touching, a good walk on hard surfaces will help a bit.
Safety tip: If you cut the dog's quick, do not panic! Be sure to have kwik stop powder ready to apply. Put some on your fingers and apply pressure to the spot that is bleeding. You can also use cornstarch.
9. Think twice before you give a haircut
We recommend you do not cut your dog’s fur. Why? One wrong move could lead to potential injury for you or your pup. There are areas on a dog that are sensitive and prone to getting cut if you do not handle your dog properly. Unless you have had proper training on how to cut your dog’s hair, have the correct grooming tools and know that your dog will remain calm during the process, please do not attempt to cut your dog's fur. Instead, brush the fur instead, so the fur does not get tangled.
10. Brush and manage the hair before tangles happen
To avoid matting and knots in your pup's coat, brush your dog every day. We recommend brushing your dog for a few minutes every day. Leave-in conditioning spray that works like a detangler is also a great option. It will not only smell good, but also strengthen and leave your dog's hair nice and shiny. When brushing, use a gentle hand and brush in the direction of hair growth. Brush with short strokes to the skin one section at a time and make brushing a pleasant bonding experience. Some dog breeds will need more brushing than others, especially breeds who have curly and wavy hair.
Safety tip: Do not use a comb to brush out mats or knots on your dog. This will pull the skin and cause pain to your dog. Brush with a slicker brush and check your work with a comb. If the comb goes through the hair nicely, then you brushed your dog correctly and thoroughly. If the comb gets stuck, stop, and use the slicker brush to brush more.
11. Freshen up in between bath time
Depending on how often you need to give your dog a bath, there are various things you can do to keep your dog smelling clean between baths. Baths should potentially be given more frequently if your dog has a persistent skin problem, however we generally recommend a bath once a month. For grooming dogs, we recommend a 2,4,6, or 8 week maintenance schedule to keep them in good shape. To keep your dog smelling and looking clean between baths, we recommend using all-purpose grooming wipes. The wipes will gently cleanse your dog's coat, removing dirt and odors before their next full grooming appointment with your groomer.
We know that this quarantine at home may be ruff on your pup's grooming needs, but we hope these tips help you keep your pup clean and healthy while staying home. If you have any questions, need more tips, or have your own to share? Please leave us a comment down below! If you are a professional groomer, checkout Wellnergy Pets Starter Kit for Groomers to help give your customers the best in veterinary formulated grooming care today!
About the Author:
Jessica Huang is born and raised in sunny Southern California. She believes that dogs are our best friends, our family, and our most loyal and true companions. She earned her dog grooming certificate from California Pet Grooming School, Cypress. When the opportunity came to own a dog grooming business, she decided to bet on herself and started her own mobile dog grooming business, Pupwash911. Even though she only has a few years of grooming experience, she continues to invest in her business and grooming education. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for fresh and new ideas that will help take her grooming skills to the next level. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, Bella, traveling, watching horror films, and trying new boba shops. For more information for all your grooming needs and questions, feel free to reach out Jessica on Instagram @pupwash911 or visit www.pupwash911.com.